Fighting for survival in Haiti

In the department of Jérémie Haiti, the NGO "Action contre la Faim" is leading refurbishment and maintenance programmes for water supply points with the aim of combating disease caused by poor quality water.

«  Despite the funds promised by the international community, the population continues to live on the edge and has noted no real improvements in living conditions: aid comes through in dribs and drabs and is conditional upon all kinds of international agreements, particularly those negotiated with the IMF and the World Bank. »

Florence de Soos

Classified 153rd out of 177 countries by the UNDP, for over twenty years Haiti has been experiencing a growing recession as well as continual serious and violent political crises. It is currently estimated that over 65% of the population lives below the poverty line i.e. around eight million people.
Rural populations are amongst the poorest. The collapsed state is no longer able to provide basic services to these citizens. The reality is that outside major cities (Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Gonaïves, etc.), there is no guaranteed access to drinking water, health services, education or waste disposal. In most of the country, the only entities bringing genuine relief to the poor are NGOs.

Reduction in water-borne disease

Among the most committed foreign players is "Action contre la faim" (ACF). Present in Haiti since 1982, it has conducted numerous projects in the health, nutrition, water and sanitation fields in rural parts of the departments in the northwest of the country as well as in certain towns and cities.
In 2005, ACF set itself three development objectives including improvements to the health of inhabitants of rural areas in the department of Jérémie by focusing on a key aspect: access to drinking water. The NGO wants to renovate and maintain fifteen water sources which have fallen into disrepair and where the water point is frequently dirty and unfit for human consumption.When it completes the work needed to secure these water points, ACF wants to establish management committees for the maintenance and management of this resource. It also wants to conduct projects to instruct users (primarily focused on women and children) on water-related hygiene.
The Veolia Foundation therefore granted 75,000 euros to ACF for this vital assignment, thereby helping to reduce diseases related to water quality.

6000 hygiene awareness sessions

In early 2007, the large majority of the actions initiated were well on the way.
The Veolia Waterforce/Waterdev team asked for its opinion on the projects found that, out of the 28 wells needing refurbishing,18 were nearing completion.
Besides, seventeen of the twenty management committees were already formed and starting to perform their role.And 6000 hygiene awareness sessions were scheduled until the end of the year.
A comprehensive program that is bound to substantially improve the health conditions of a multitude of villagers.